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Bharat bandh protest gets mixed response across India, toddler dies in Bihar

While normal life was hit in some states, others such as UP were untouched by the Bharat bandh called by opposition parties. Sporadic incidents of violence were reported and a toddler died in Bihar.

india Updated: Sep 11, 2018 16:26 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Bharat bandh protest,Petrol prices,Diesel prices
Shops were partially opened during the Bharat bandh protest at Byculla east in Mumbai, on Monday.(Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)

Barring the death of a three-year-old girl in Bihar’s Jehanabad district, possibly because of delay in finding a vehicle to take her to hospital, Monday’s Bharat Bandh called to protest spiralling fuel prices evoked a mixed response.

Giving details about the child’s death, sub-divisional officer Paritosh Kumar said Pramod Manjhi, a resident of a village in Gaya district, had been trying to take his daughter to hospital as she was vomiting and had diarrhoea. “Although bandh supporters did not prevent three-wheelers from plying, it could be said that had there been no delay in finding a vehicle, her life could have been saved,” he said.

Although sporadic incidents of violence were reported from Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, the day remained largely peaceful.

Arson, vandalism and disruption of rail and road traffic were reported from Bihar. In the old Patna city area, bandh supporters placed burning tyres on railway tracks and disrupted movement of trains. Private schools and several shopping establishments remained closed. But government offices and banks functioned normally.

The bandh was called by 21 opposition parties led by Congress president Rahul Gandhi. It was kick-started at Rajghat where Gandhi offered holy water from his Kailash Mansarovar yatra.

In Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Bihar, Odisha and Arunachal Pradesh, life was hit by the shutdown. But Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Mizoram remained largely unaffected.

Normal life was thrown out of gear in Congress-JD (S) ruled Karnataka. Roads in Bangalore wore a deserted look as government buses, private taxis and most auto-rickshaws did not ply. Businesses, shops, malls and some private enterprises remained closed.

The Congress held protests at multiple places in the Karnataka capital. Even the Janata Dal (Secular), which supported the bandh, held a protest at the Town Hall. Police officials confirmed that stray incidents of stone pelting were reported in Dakshina Kannada district and police resorted to a mild lathi charge in Udupi after Congress and BJP party workers got into a scuffle.

In Maharashtra, the shutdown call given by the Congress and supporting opposition parties, including Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, received a mixed response. MNS workers resorted to violence in some areas. Minister of state for home Deepak Kesarkar said the impact of bandh ranged between 20% and 90%. In Pune, there were reports of a school bus, which had dropped off students, being vandalised.

Train services were affected in Odisha as Congress workers blocked railway tracks. At least 10 trains were cancelled. In Bhubaneswar, bandh supporters locked the ticket counter of the Sun Temple. Examinations were cancelled by the Biju Patnaik University of Technology.

In New Delhi, offices, schools and colleges opened at their regular time despite the bandh. Traffic was affected in Daryaganj and around Ramlila Maidan due to the protest. Vehicular movement came to a halt in many places as Congress workers blocked roads. Buses, taxis and autorickshaws stayed off the roads.

In Kerala, the bandh hit normal life. Both public and private transport buses and autorickshaws kept off the roads.

Breaking down state-wise fuel prices
There is a large variation in VAT rates on petrol and diesel across states, which also levy other taxes and cess on them. While oil companies provide data on exact build-up of petrol and diesel prices in Delhi, this information is not available for other states. A comparison of petro prices and VAT shows that there need not be a direct relation between the two
Petrol
Diesel
Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh announced cuts on taxes on fuel as anger grows among people over rising prices of petrol and diesel that are currently at their highest-ever levels.; Text: Vineet Sachdev; Source-HPCL website & PPAC

The bandh evoked a mixed response in Telangana. The police took scores of workers of the Congress, Left and TDP into custody when they held protests and prevented buses from plying. AICC secretary Srinivasan Krishnan and 40 others were taken into preventive custody in Karimnagar town. Osmania University in Hyderabad postponed pre-Phd examination for tomorrow.

In Jharkhand, where 58 Congress activists were taken into police custody for trying to enforce the bandh, the impact was minimal. Almost all schools, colleges and offices were open in West Bengal where examinations were held as scheduled, although attempt were made to block rail traffic in some places.

Tamil Nadu remained largely unaffected. However, autorickshaws affiliated to trade unions participating in the shutdown kept off the roads. Police said city buses plied but those bound for Kerala stayed off the roads. Buses bound for Karnataka were stopped at Hosur, the police added.

Normal life was affected in Arunachal Pradesh. All shops and business establishments were closed and private vehicles were off the roads. In the state capital, about 100 Congress activists were arrested.

The call for bandh evoked little response in Uttar Pradesh where most commercial establishments remained open. Shops, offices and educational institutions were open in Congress-ruled Mizoram.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Sep 10, 2018 23:40 IST